July 8, 2022

New study: Disposable gowns may expose clinicians to infection

By: Tarsilla Moura

Editor's Note

After this October 2020 peer-reviewed study, titled “Disposable versus reusable medical gowns: A performance comparison,” found that “isolation gowns commonly worn in medical units or intensive care units ripped too easily and allowed about four to 14 times the expected amount of liquid to seep through when sprayed or splashed,” ECRI is now conducting a similar study, Kaiser Health News (KHN) July 6 reports.

The ECRI study that is underway has begun testing “disposable isolation gowns after receiving anecdotal reports of ‘blood or other body fluids leaking through,’” ECRI Engineering Director Chris Lavanchy told KHN, adding that “preliminary test results raised concerns that disposable gowns may not meet safety standards.” Transitioning to reusable gowns could be a safer, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly alternative, the article noted.

Other studies have reflected the same concern and proposed similar alternatives. OR Manager previously reported on a study led by researchers at Florida State University, Tallahassee, which found that reusable cover gowns provide increased protection compared to disposable cover gowns. ECRI has also previously elevated the issue: A November 2020 analysis by the nonprofit shows that 52% of the disposable isolation gowns it tested failed to meet standard levels of protection, putting healthcare workers at risk of exposure to bloodborne or other pathogens as well as COVID-19.


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